The Activist Art Student Who Dons a Mock Turtleneck

Cooper Union student Tyler Paige.
Cooper Union student Tyler Paige.

Tyler Paige, Art Student

What kind of art do you make? Video and sound art and websites. My roommate and I have also been running a small gallery out of our basement in Chelsea — we live in the apartment he grew up in. His mom’s a photographer and has been in the building since the ’70s. The gallery is this weird laundry-room, white-cube-type space.

What’s that piece of red fabric pinned to your sweatshirt? It’s a symbol of the protests at Cooper Union — against charging tuition — which I’ve been involved in. I spent my first two years here mostly doing that, going to sit-ins; it definitely overshadowed my studio practice. I’d only go to class when I wasn’t locked in a room or occupying the president’s office. The protests have kind of died off, now it’s more a legal issue, and the attorney general is investigating the school. But the fabric also makes a nice accessory!

Lightning Round
Hometown: Trenton, New Jersey.
Rent: $700 a month.
Mock turtleneck: “From L.L. Bean.”
Typical Saturday night: “Dancing at the bar One Last Shag in Bed-Stuy. They have a great party called Papi Juice.”
Summer plans: “I just got a ticket to visit my boyfriend in Amsterdam.”
Social media: Facebook, Instagram. “I’d get off Facebook, but it’s too good for events.”

*This article appears in the May 18, 2015 issue of New York Magazine.

The Cooper Union Student in Subtle Protest Garb